31 Days of Halloween Makeup – Day 6: How To Create a 3rd Degree Burn

Gelatin burn makeup I created

Day 6: How To Create a 3rd Degree Burn
It’s never a good idea to play with fire, because you will always lose. However, if you want a crispy, Cajun look for Halloween, then gelatin can help you achieve it. Gelatin is terrific for creating realistic looking burns and wounds.   It’s a great way to enhance many Halloween looks like, zombie, fireman, car crash victim…. the list goes on and on. You can use gelatin to make cuts and other wounds, but today we are going to fucus on burns.

You can make your own gelatin from scratch (that’s a blog for another day) or purchase it pre-made. I hope this helps you create a realistic looking 3rd degree burn. Ouch!!

SAFETY FIRST: You don’t want to get a real burn while trying to create a fake one!

  • Only heat gelatin for 5 to 20 second intervals in the microwave.
  • Use great care when handling the hot containers of water or gelatin
  • Hot gelatin will burn you! Check the temperature by placing a tiny amount of gelatin on your inner wrist before applying elsewhere.
  • Kids, DO NOT try. This is not for children. Ask your parents for help. An adult should heat the gelatin, check the temperature and help with the application. 

Heating Gelatin:
Unless I am doing a prosthetic piece, or a large area, I like to buy gelatin in a small bottle. That way I can easily melt the gelatin by placing the bottle in a coffee cup of really hot water until it liquefies.

If your gelatin is cubed or otherwise loose. You can cut it into small pieces, place in a glass bowl and heat in the microwave. But remember, respect the gelatin or it will burn you!

10 steps to create a 3rd degree burn

  1. Pre-paint the burn area
    Paint the skin before applying the gelatin. Do a thin wash of red on the area of skin the gelatin will be applied and the border around the burn area. This will add to the realism because the area surrounding the burn would normally have some heat trauma. I like to use Skin Illustrator for the pre-paint.
  2. Apply gelatin
    Apply a layer of warm gelatin over painted area. I like to use popsicle sticks for spreading gelatin. Tap in some areas to create blisters and texture. Be sure and test a small amount to make sure it’s not too hot.
  3. Add tissue
    Wait for gelatin to dry a little and apply small pieces of tissue in random patches. Let dry
  4. More gelatin
    Apply additional thin layer of gelatin over tissue areas
  5. Tweezer the tissue
    Use tweezers to pull random areas of tissue back away from the gelatin and pull a few off completely. It a will simulate skin peeling away or being burned off.
  6. Let the gelatin set up
    The gelatin will set up (become firm) on its own. You can speed up the process by using a blow dryer on cool setting (Always on cool setting. You don’t want to melt the gelatin or burn your skin)
  7. Powder lightly
    Even though the gelatin has set up, it will still be a little tacky. Powder lightly with translucent setting powder.
  8. Color as desired.
    I like to use Skin Illustrator in the FX palette (for the bruise and blood colors), Aqua colors and black matte eyeshadow. Here is how I colored the example pictured above.
    • Start with a brighter red in the recessed areas
    •  Add a thin wash of red over the entire burn area, letting some color settle in the creases
    • Add som black to enhance the look of bubbling, charred skin
    • Use yellow to look like puss
    • Use matte, black eyeshadow for a more crusty charred look. Also dab some black in and around the burn area.
  9. Powder lightly
    Again, powder the gelatin very lightly with a translucent powder. This is usually only needed if you are coloring with a cream makeup.
  10. Add a bit of castor oil or KY Jelly to the recessed, bright red areas to make them look gooey.
Voila! You’ve been burned!

Ben Nye Gel Effects Kit:
Ben Nye makes a great gelatin that I like to use for small burns and wounds. Displayed here is their Effects Gel Wound Kit

This kit cost about $25 on makeupmania.com.  Or you can purchase the bottles individually

Excerpt from website: This useful pack of three effects gels produce remarkably realistic lacerations, bullet holes, burns and scars. Wounds may be pre-made. Washable. Includes one 2 oz bottle of each of these gels: Blood, Flesh (clear), Scar (opaque) – plus detailed instructions. Applications: 60-100.

Safety Note:
Be careful when heating gelatin. Always test a small amount to make sure it is not too hot. You don’t want to give yourself a real burn!

Please feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think.  Also comment if you have tips you want to share with the world and link back to your blog.

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